Tea Time Treasure

As a volunteer ‘host’ for Contact the Elderly, we have the total pleasure of offering occasional tea parties for local elderly people. It is such a pleasure and privilege – guests come with their volunteer ‘drivers’, and both hosts and guests get to know each other and look forward to catching up with news and conversation.

In their own words:

‘Contact the Elderly is the only national charity solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people through face to face contact.
Supported by a network of volunteers, the charity organises free monthly Sunday gatherings for small groups of older people, aged 75 and over who live alone. Offering a regular and vital friendship link every month’.


I so recommend others to get involved – follow the link and find out more about becoming a host or driver. When I enquired, Contact the Elderly already had one tea group set up in our locality. After a short wait, sufficient ‘hosts’ and ‘drivers’ had come forward, and the Horsham 2 tea group was formed!

Most of the guests in our group (and their drivers!) have lived in the area for many years – decades… So it’s so absolutely fascinating to discuss changes over time to Horsham & the surrounding villages, and hear their perspective on developments in terms of facilities, and the environment. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to just catch up with each other – a quality afternoon for all, I hope!

If you think you can join in a local Sunday Tea group, do follow the link below to find out more. I urge you to get in contact with Contact the Elderly – you won’t regret it, and nor will your local prospective guests!



Lazy Sunday Jazz: Polesden Lacy

Easy Jazz enjoyed with a picnic on the lawn of a studding Edwardian mansion, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and grounds & views extending through fields and woods. How good can a summer afternoon get?

Just under half an hour’s drive away, a treat awaits on Sunday afternoons in June, July and August. Take your provisions, sun hat, and Enjoy!

Make time to explore the gardens and enjoy a walk with breathtaking views through the grounds too. Check out the National Trust Garden map to ensure you don’t miss the chickens, kitchen garden, flower picking plot, walled rose garden and croquet lawn, to name but a few of the beautifully manicured ‘rooms’ within the grounds.

You can’t fail to admire the skill of the gardeners, past and present…

‘The perfect setting for an Edwardian country retreat’: National Trust, Polesden Lacy. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polesden-lacey

Banana Muffins

A perfect recipe to turn a couple of over ripe bananas into a super fast breakfast, tea time treat, or pudding – served with Vanilla yogurt or ice cream 🙂

Two ripe bananas, seeds or nuts and a little time – the house will soon be full of that delicious ‘home baking’ smell 🙂


  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 125ml buttermilk 
  • 50g pecans, chopped, plus extra to decorate (or other nuts or seeds)
  • NB If you don’t have buttermilk, use this great trick: add 1 tsp of lemon juice to milk and leave for 20 mins – works just a well


  1. Heat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/gas 5.
  2. Use a butter paper to grease a silicone muffin tin, or line a 12-hole metal muffin tin with muffin sized paper cases.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and caster sugar with a big pinch of salt.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the melted butter (I melt it in a little bowl in the oven whilst it’s heating up), vanilla extract, eggs, mashed bananas and buttermilk.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.
  6. Roughly fold together with a basting spook, being careful not to over-mix. Scatter in the chopped pecans, if using, then spoon the mixture into the muffin cases.
  7. Top with pecan halves, then bake for 20-25 mins, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Banana Muffins
Banana Muffins

Simple is sustainable

Don’t count on having the energy after a long day at work to whip up an elaborate meal; pop some healthy home made ‘fast food in the freezer.

The Oaks West Sussex
Recipe originally from BBC Good Food https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/banana-muffins

School’s Out for Summer…

And beyond…

Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance, you must keep moving on.

Albert Einstein.
Offline, Off Grid time… to create & discover what’s beyond the horizon.

10 Lessons from colleagues & observations at school –

1. “Life is like riding a bicycle.

To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

— Albert Einstein

2. “Don’t settle for mediocrity;

Never let (just) good enough be enough.

– Joel Osteen

3. “Great things never came from Comfort Zones”.

– Lifehack.org

4. “Details matter. It’s worth waiting to get it right”.

– Steve Jobs

5. ” I appreciate effort.

No matter how small, silly, or irrelevant.

I appreciate effort”.

– Billy Chapata

Monmouthshire, in the land of the extra long road signs…

6. Actions prove who someone is.

Words just prove who they want to be.

– (Anon)

7. Don’t feel bad making decisions that upset other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You are responsible for your happiness”.

– Isiah Henkel

8. “Self confidence & a belief in yourself is a must. To instil confidence in others, you first must have confidence in yourself”.

– Bryan and Catherine Pulsfyer.

9a. Integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, right or easy, and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them”.

– Brene Brown

9b. With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.

With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt”.

– Zig Ziglar

10. One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face

is whether to try harder or walk away”.


School’s Out for Summer…

and beyond …

Nothing else apple cake: a cake of Just Apple!

Our wonderful, lichen clad old apple trees have worked their two yearly magic again.  It must be magic – how can so many apples be borne on such ancient fragile looking frames?

Some are huge ‘cookers’ (though actually, they don’t need sweetening.  Perhaps the years have dulled the sharp tang expected of cooking apples in favour of sun ripened, beautifully balanced crisp fruits).  Others are small, red and earthy green eaters.

I can’t help wondering what delights the apples would have been put to over the years.  One day we will get an apple press and make our own proper juice.  We have blitzed and made ‘whole fruit’ juice, but it would be fab to bottle and store clear apple nectar.

Alongside copious amounts of chutney, destined to be Christmas presents for everyone we know, and anyone else who takes an interest, we have bought and filled a new chest freezer.  Stewed apple will be on the menu in various forms until at least May, I’m sure.  We have worked our way through ‘Normandy Chicken’, apple Charlotte and many others, including a number of different forms of apple cake.

This one was perfect for us both, being wheat, dairy and everything else (virtually, apart from ‘apple’) free.  The recipe is from ‘You’ magazine.


Spiced Layered Apple Cake.  

Serves 8 (or 2, depending on how many of you there are…)

330 g white sugar (I only used a Tbs)

2Tbs finely grated lemon rind

i tsp ground cinnamon

2 vanilla beans (pods),split and seeds scraped

2 KG Granny Smith, or other eating apples, approx 12(as they hold their shape when cooked)

2 Tbs lemon juice

Double Cream, or Greek yogurt, to serve (that bit’s not dairy free!)

  1.  Preheat oven to 180C / gas 4.  Line a non stick 20cm round springform tin with non stick baking paper, using an extra layer for the base.   Line a baking tray with non stick baking paper and place the tin on the tray (see note, below)
  2. Place the sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon and vanilla seeds in a medium bowl and use your fingertips to combine.
  3. Peel the apples and rub all over with lemon juice (see Tip).  Using a Mandolin slicer, finely slice the apples to 2mm thick.
  4. Line the base of the tin with one layer of apple slices, placing each slice over half the previous slice.  Sprinkle evenly with 2 Tbs sugar.  Repeat, layering with rest of the apples and the sugar mixture.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes.  Press down gently on the cake, using the back of a large spoon, and cover tightly with foil.  Bake for a further 35 – 45 minutes, or until the apple is very soft and the top layer is caramelised.  Allow to cool slightly in the tin.
  6. Put a sheet of nonstick baking paper over the tin and place a slightly smaller plate on top of the cake.  Weigh down with a heavy weight and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours, or until cool and firm.
  7. Run a small knife around the edge of the cake.  Carefully remove from the tin and place on a cake stand or plate.
  8. Serve chilled with double cream, yogurt or ice cream if you wish.
  9. NOTE: The apple will release quite a lot of delicious syrup as it’s baking so it’s a good idea to double line the tin and place it on a lined tray, to catch the spills.
  10. TIP:  The lemon juice helps prevent the apples from browning before they are cooked.

“We must cultivate our garden”

Candide, by Vlotaire

Candide starts out as a dreamer, saying, “”This is the best of all possible worlds,” which has no practical application. By the end of the story, he has learned from his experiences that he must do what can, where he is.

Volaire is pointing out that we must put our efforts into improving ourselves and into caring for those immediately around us.  That is the purpose of life.

The phrase demonstrates that Candide has grown through his life’s experiences.

Second Sussex Summer 2018

After a year working on the large ‘barn’ we had our first party –

A very proud moment; the toilets all worked, the fridges all kept the food and drinks cold, and the barn, or Industrial Estate, as we call it (it was originally built as a factory for making ball bearings!) looked magnificent.  A far cry from the cavernous, sad building we’d taken on just under two years earlier.

It was hugely fun… one to repeat, many times 🙂

The Passadino Roof Orchestra were wonderful as ever…

‘A little Party never hurt nobody!’

Looking forward to our next project now, whatever it may be (we have several ideas!)






2017 was a wonderful year, in good ways, and challenging ways

I’m definitely not the person I was when the year started –

That’s how each year should be; our life stories should develop as they unfold.


Christmas is a season for ‘family’, in it’s broadest sense

Time – punctuating lives with collective positivity;


Love brought Jesus to the Earth on that first Christmas day 

The spirit of the season for all, regardless of religious conviction, is Peace & Goodwill.


New Year is a time to look ahead

Throughout the coming year,

May we hold onto the spirit of the Christmas season – Peace

The Gladness of the season – Hope

& the heart of the season, Grace, & Love.


365 more days,
12 new chapters,
365 new opportunities